School reads! The bane of people’s lives. Often, it’s not the books themselves that are bad: it’s the system which puts them through the mill until the words “Mice” and “Men” and “Flies” and “Shakespeare” make you squirm with unresolved anger issues.
Ugh. School. A word that fills many youngsters with regret (I like education, but not the people). Especially writers. Suddenly, your entire writing day has been cut to an hour (and that’s if you’re lucky). Some give up. Some stay up to early o’clock frantically scribbling and then spend the next day in doo-lally land. Some weren’t stupid enough to start in the first place.
But don’t worry. There’s hope. Even during my GCSEs I carried on writing. I’m going to sixth-form college this September (I’m terrified) and I’m going to carry on. Because that’s what writers do, isn’t it? Just keep putting one word in front of the one before.
Here are my top 5 tips to keep writing when you’re at school. Believe me, if you don’t do it, you’ll get out of practise and may never write again (surely that’s enough to scare you to carry on!). Even if you’re not at school, these still apply to you by the way (you can’t get out of reading that fast!).
1. Make a schedule.
Boring, I know, but if you do it there’s a faintest chance you’ll stick to it (and that’s better than nothing). During my exam period, I’d have between 9pm – 10pm to write every night. An hour is better than nothing. Hell, even if you write in for 15 minutes in bed before you go to sleep, that’s better than nothing! Just make sure that every single day you have writing written in – on your phone on the bus in the morning is okay enough!
2. Separate work and writing.
Don’t write and do your homework at the same time (if anything, you’ll get confused and accidentally kill off a prominent historical figure, letting your character evade death). Also, if you do this, you’re likely to start to think of writing as homework, a chore. When you put your school books away before you start writing, get up and do something different, even for a few minutes. Make a cup of tea, bounce on the trampoline (maybe not in the snow though), go for a walk. Even have a shower. You need to differentiate, or you’ll confuse yourself.
3. Just remember that school work, unfortunately, comes first.
This is a harsh fact for young writers to accept. Unless you have a book deal (if you do, well done you!) school work does have to come first, and writing second. It doesn’t mean you can’t write, but if you have to choose between an essay for the next day or the next chapter of your book that can (albeit regretfully) wait for a while, choose the essay. Despite what you say, your teachers will prefer you to get grades rather than another character death to add to your tally.
4. Damn the bullies.
Now, I might do another proper post on bullies and haters another time, but this is another thing you may find happens when you go back to school. You get the, “So what did you do during the holidays?” If your answer is, “Writing,” you could get laughs, snide looks, perhaps comments like, “But s/he can’t spell ‘because‘.” Ignore them. If you can’t ignore them, put them in your book and kill them (then who’ll be laughing?!). The fact is, some young people aren’t reading books nowadays, and even less are writing. Keep your chin up, and your pen scribbling.
5. Make friends with other writers or join a creative writing club.
I don’t really have any real-life writing friends. Many of mine are online (but I’m a terrible communicator so it doesn’t go great a lot of the time). If you can, make some writing friends. You can support them and they, in turn, can support you. And, if you join a club and they set tasks for you to do, technically you can pass it off as homework. Technically.
Have a great schooling year guys, and, even if you’re not at school, I hope you had a great summer and have a great rest-of-the-year!
Dammit, dammit, dammit, is what I say to myself as I scramble to write this article. Dammit, dammit, dammit…
Why? Because I am running out of time to write it. I have barely written anything for NaNoWriMo today, and I’m only just about getting this out.
School days. 6 hours of ‘learning’ (aka messing about). 20 minutes for break. 30 minutes for lunch. 25 minutes of hell in ‘tutor time’. And then clubs or revision sessions after school.
Not that I hate education: I love it.
Would just be a lot easier if there were more hours in the day, to be honest.